Anyone hiding. Especially those with anxiety, depression, or any other mental illness they are struggling with.
one of the most common responses to my blog has been, “OH MY GOD. I had no idea this happened.” or “I would have NEVER known you suffered like this”
Of course you didn’t. Of course you wouldn’t have. I am a god damn professional actress that doesn’t get paid. I’ve been practicing and perfecting the act of smiling, laughing, and chatting up a storm in hopes to push down all the panic and keep my “secret” hidden from the world ever since I was twelve years old.
DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON WHY THIS MAKES ME SO UPSET THAT IT’S SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE TO EXPRESS YOURSELF OR SHOW YOUR ILLNESS.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to put yourself out there. Your true self. Not the one you’ve created in hopes of hiding who you really are. Obviously I chose to go the route of writing a blog and spilling my guts about all my issues, but that’s not for everyone, and that’s okay.
What’s not okay is that it took me so long to realize that if I had accepted my not-so-perfect parts of myself sooner, I would have saved myself so much pain and energy. No matter if you have anxiety, depression, a personality disorder, or even if you are actually perfectly “normal” (whatever that truly means, because it’s still up for debate.) don’t hide. The world has been transformed into this cold world that is unaccepting of others because we hide. It’s the hiding that has made mental illness such a taboo topic.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret:
Hitting rock bottom was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.
I mean that 1000%.
Moving to Cape made me hot mess. I was having panic attacks every day, having to call my mom or best friend every afternoon to have them talk me through the toughest parts of the day, and rarely enjoyed myself because I made up every excuse to stay in bed all day, away from everything and everyone.
My sadness was not swallowing 32 pills and laughing like I was fine or stepping in front of cars because I enjoyed the rush of actually feeling alive.
My sadness was being here week after week after week and hiding my sadness with a fake smile and laughing at every joke I didn’t find funny. It was breaking down after a harsh week but knowing I had to pull myself together before my family came home. It was only making it to the next week without anyone noticing how fucked up I was. It was losing all hope of getting better but still pushing through the day. It was being dead but no one noticed.
After one really bad day I finally had to take the time and think about what I was doing, what I really wanted, and I was overcome with so much emotion that I realized: I didn’t want to move to Cape. I didn’t want to be a pharmacist. Guess what? I didn’t move to Cape because I wanted to or because I thought it would be good for me. I did it because that’s what was expected of me. I did it to be able to tell everyone that I could, that I did. I didn’t want to be included in the group of kids that graduated and “never got out of our small town.”
If I had been true to myself, I would have never considered moving away from everyone that supported me. I wasn’t true to myself. I was still pushing down those not-so-awesome parts of me.
The year that LensCrafters closed was the biggest blessing I could have received. I was at the point where I was done hiding, done pretending. I packed up my shit, moved back in with my parents, and now I’m 23 and I’m living in my childhood bedroom. And I cannot say this enough: I am okay with it, because it’s who I am right now. It’s what I need, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
I cannot help that I’m excessively prone to depressive episodes, and that at any moment I could be thrown into a desperate spiral of panic. I can’t help that I need my medication to balance my brain chemicals and keep them in check. I’m not sorry.
So even though moving to Cape was a terrible thing, leaving the city and moving back home was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Obviously I realize the contradiction, but it’s true. If I didn’t do it, I would be spending my days pretending to be someone I’m not, self-harming, and having the continuous panic attacks that crippled me.
So find something you hide, and investigate why you hide it.
For me, the first step in accepting myself was taking the time to realize what I wasn’t accepting, and why.